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Take a look at our frequently asked questions

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Take a look at our frequently asked questions

What is Healthier Together?

We are a partnership of 13 local health and care organisations who want to work with the local residents  to improve health and wellbeing for everyone, provide better quality of care, while working within the funds provided by central government.

It is our local area’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) as set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View document.

What geographical area does Healthier Together cover?

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire local authority areas.

When was Healthier Together established?

2016: You may have heard it previously referred to as the BNSSG STP.

Why did STPs change from a ‘plan’ to ‘partnership’?

We believe in working together with our local communities and it was felt that ‘partnership’ better reflects the need to work together on making change happen.

Why do we need an STP?

The STP is about bringing organisations together and strengthening relationships so we have a coordinated approach to local health and care issues, rather than each organisation working in isolation. People have told us that they want to see more joined up care and we need things to change to be able to continue to meet the health needs of local people in future.

What does the STP mean for me as a resident?

We are proposing changes with the aim of improving the lives of those in the communities we serve. This could be from reducing waiting times, to providing easy to access advice and information on local health and care services.

Some change may happen relatively quickly and will be easy to put into practice, while other areas of work will take a number of years to implement. We will share our plans and listen to your feedback every step of the way.

What does the STP mean for me as a member of staff?

You are crucial to helping us to understand the local challenges and potential ways to overcome the issues we know we all face. We want you to be involved as it’s important to us that you are part of shaping and influencing the work and in some areas we may need to ask staff to work differently in future. We also want to do all we can to make coming to work a motivating and fulfilling experience, so that you feel valued and enabled to deliver great care.

Why is it taking so long to see any improvements or changes?

Our work covers the period from 2016 to 2021 as we know the changes we need to make are complex and will take time to plan and implement. Progress is already being made in a number of areas. Examples include: Healthy Weston and improvements to diabetes and respiratory services.

We need to make sure that any plans for long-term changes don’t hinder the services needed today.

How is Healthier Together doing?

NHS England has developed a STP progress dashboard providing an overview of each STP. It is based on a number of indicators, including hospital performance, finances, leadership, general practice, patient safety, emergency care and elective care.

The first results were published by NHS England on 21 July 2017. The BNSSG STP was rated category four – in need of most improvement – along with four other STP footprints. We were disappointed, but it was not unexpected given the challenges we face.

This rating was a snapshot for our local area and we feel confident that the changes that we have put in place, such as strengthened leadership, will put us in good stead as our work progresses.

Is an Integrated Care System (ICS) or Accountable Care System (ACS) different to a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP)?

In some areas of England an STP will evolve to form an ICS (previously known as an ACS). This means even closer collaboration, including collectively managing resources. Further information on ICSs can be found on the NHS England website.

Will Healthier Together become an Integrated Care System?

There are currently no plans for Healthier Together to become an ICS and there is insufficient evidence to make an accurate assessment of whether it would be appropriate for our area. Our focus continues to be on developing the Healthier Together partnership to best tackle the big health and care challenges we face together.

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